"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Playing a musical instrument – ​​good for the brain in old age

April 27, 2023 – A brand new study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that playing music can promote the health of the aging brain.

The study shows that musical training can improve speech perception in adults by preserving and compensating for juvenile neural patterns,” News from Neuroscience reported.

“Research shows two mechanisms that older musicians use to counteract age-related decline: functional maintenance and functional compensation. This offers hope for targeted interventions to promote healthy aging.”

The study was published within the journal Scientific advances.

Cognitive decline poses problems for those affected, their families and caregivers. With the world's population aging faster than ever before, researchers hope to seek out ways to handle it.

The brain imaging study included older musicians, older non-musicians, and young non-musicians.

When it got here to recognizing sounds and syllables under noisy conditions, older musicians performed higher than older non-musicians – and were on par with young non-musicians.

“Among age-related cognitive deficits, difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments is one of the most common, even among older adults who have normal hearing for their age,” the researchers write.

“Music-making makes older adults better listeners by preserving youthful neural patterns and recruiting additional compensatory brain regions,” said research group leader DU Yi from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Our study provides empirical evidence that music-making keeps the brain fit, young and focused.”